Peru

Today is the last proper day in Peru 🙁 Tomorrow we will just be engaged catching the plane back home which will no doubt be really depressing.

The three weeks we have spent here seem to have lasted a lot longer, it seems like ages since we arrived in Lima.

This last week we have been staying at the Eco Amazonian Lodge ( enter “[Jungle Joe]” ) in the middle of the jungle and going on tours of the jungle and rides up and down rivers in Canoes, for me I think this has been the highlight of the trip.

We arrived in Puerto Mandolano ( where I am now, a town at the junction of two huge rivers in the Amazon basin ) last Tuesday and immediatley noticed it was very very hot, and humid. I like the heat though so it is nice. From there we saw the rest of our group arrive for the boat journey up the river to the lodge and wandered around the local market.

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Before I left for Peru I had very little idea of what there was to do there, being as prior orginisation is something I have never really understood our itinery was decided in around 10mins on the first morning we arrived in Lima.

The three things I did know about Peru was that there was a lot of rainforest, the deepest canyon in the world ( the [Colca Canyon] ) and of course [Machu Pichu|Machu Pichu].

Lima

We started off in Lima and in our 3 weeks planned a circular route heading firstly to Arequipe by plane to see the canyon then on to Puno by coach to see the [Floating Island]. From Puno we took the train to Cusco to see the sacred valley and Machu Pichu and then headed off by plane again to Puerto Maldonado for the rainforest.

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I am in a place called [Ollyantaytambo] right now, Paul is ( I think ) doing the Inca trail. I am not 100% he is doing this because the people who were supposed to be taking him there this morning never turned up so the last I saw of him was when he was heading off to the travel agent to complain. I dropped in myself later on to see if they could tell me what had happened in the end but all the person in there could say which I understood was “Amigo, vamoose” which I am taking as a positive sign.

The journey to Ollyantaytambo was fun, first I had to find the bus station and thanks to an old man for correcting the mistake the silly travel agents I had initally asked for directions I eventually found the road the buses left from. Then I saw a bus so logically I asked if it went to where I wanted to go, after much Spanish jabbering they seemed to be saying that it didn´t and didn´t think they were having too much sucess explaining to me where the actual bus stop was so in the end they asked me to get in and drove me to the correct bus stop.

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It is almost time to leave Peru, in the next hour the plane will arrive and I will have to go home 🙁

Today has been quite a good day considering all we really had to do was catch the plane from Puerto Mandanaldo to Lima and then hang around to catch the plane back home.

Last night we ended up quite drunk in a lot of really empty clubs and pubs in Puerto Mandanaldo, we ended the evening talking to a lot of locals who were hanging around the benches in the park drinking rum from the bottle – I think we must have felt some empathy for their situation somehow. Later I got a taxi back to the hotel around 4:30AM but Paul decided he wanted to walk back and could not be persuaded otherwise so the last I saw of him was as I passed him in my taxi staggering down the road, he seemed to have met 3 Peruvian gentleman who were leading him off down a side road. Assuming Paul probably knew exactly what he was doing I left him to it and continued on my way.

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Yes, it’s Easter Sunday and everywhere is closed. Have spent the afternoon sitting in a resteraunt reading a book I have just bought called, misleadingly, “Machu Pichu”. I thought it may have been about Machu Pichu but instead it is some weirdo american woman take on Peruvian mysticism and how great and effective it all is. I have discovered that apparently the Sphinx in Egypt is over 10,000 years old – according to latest scientific analyses. Apparently. I am sure that that particular piece of scientific analyses has since been proved to be not particulary scientfic after all.

Anyway you may be interested to know that this Web Site ranks number 1 if you search for “how to poision rats” in the UK.

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Yesterday was an exciting day visiting [Machu Pichu], the stronghold of the Incas.

It started pretty early at around 8:30 when I had to get up to have breakfast – some horrible Peruvian bread, hot cross buns, cheese and some ham which tasted pretty normal.

The hotel had managed to get me some tickets to Machu Pichu returning to [Ollayantaytambo] rather than [Cusco] though because there were no seats left on the Ollyantaytambo – Cusco section of the journey. No problem, I could either stay another night in Ollyantaytambo or catch the same buses as I had come on back to Cusco.

The train ride was quite spectacular, the track runs beside the [Urumbamba River] which is the same river skirting Machu Pichu. It is quite a big river and very fast flowing with lots of rapids. I am going rafting on this river tomorrow. On each side of the valley are huge steep hills with some fantastic snow clad mountains and glaciers just behind them.

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Today in a kind of show of sympathy for Paul who is now climbing up huge hills and then walking down the other side, camping occasionally in freezing temperatures gulping down his gruel before setting off for the next killing leg of his journey I have booked the night in the nicest hotel I could find here in [Ollyantaytambo]. It is a bit expensive but it is very nice, towels, hot water everything.

Yesterday I was wondering about [The Train] tickets to [Machu Pichu] but today coming to Ollyantaytambo has proved to be a smart move because since it is the Easter festivities tomorrow there are no trains from [Cusco] but only from here. The kind people at the hotel have even gone down just now to collect my ticket for me, now that is what I call a good service.

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Hi,

Quite bored tonight – Paul has a cold and has gone to bed early and the streets in this town are too steep to do much more wandering about.

Have just come from the Cross Keys Cuzcos traditional English pub and I can confirm it is run down enough to be a genuine bar all right. Tonight the locals were celebrating some religious festival ( god knows what – Palm Sunday was yesterday ) which involves them parading a statue of Jesus through the town which is packed to busting point with people waving palms. The idea then seems to be to form conga lines and try to run quickly through the crowd thus creating impassable bottlenecks and huge crushes up and down steps. The end result is that you either cannot move at all or are being propelled at 90mph trying desperatley not to lose your footing.

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Hi,

The pace of adventure has slowed a little since arriving in [Cusco], hence I have the time to be on the Internet more than is healthy.

Really since we arrived in Cusco we haven’t done too much except organise Paul’s Inca Trail, some rafting and our forthcoming rainforest adventure next week.

Yesterday we organised all that and spent the afternoon sitting in a cafe with a nice balcony overlooking all the locals fleecing the tourists which is always more fun to watch than participate in ( this morning we spent sitting on another balcony eating breakfast, this was the [Breakfast Balcony]). Following that and our evening meal we went to an Australian bar called “Los Penos” which doesn’t sound too Australian to me. There we were privelidged to watch some South American football, let me tell you it is every bit as exciting as the English sort.

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The last 2 days we have been on an Island in Lake Titicaca ( lot’s of [Water, Reeds, Mountains] ) living with a local family ( Mum, Dad and the [Kids] ); no electrcity, mud hut + horrible food.

Lake Titicaca is famous mainly for being the highest navigable lake in the world ( the Bolivan navy is active on the Bolivian side of the lake ) and it’s [Floating Islands] which are made from reeds and really do float !

One of the Attractions of the island is a tortorusly high [Big Hill] which we were forced to climb to the top of to see the wonderful sunset. No sunset is worth 45mins of exhaustion and wondering with every breathe whether it will be your last. You may think I exaggerate but at 4000M above sea level even to tiniest gradient or bit of excercise is far far more exhausting than at sea level.

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